Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

UFC

UFC 253: Khabib Nurmagomedov corners teammate Zubaira Tukhugov in Abu Dhabi

UFC lightweight champion preparing for octagon return

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 27: Khabib Nurmagomedov corners Zubaira Tukhugov of Russia before facing Hakeem Dawodu of Canada in their featherweight bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 27: Khabib Nurmagomedov corners Zubaira Tukhugov of Russia before facing Hakeem Dawodu of Canada in their featherweight bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Khabib Nurmagomedov was at UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday as he cornered teammate Zubaira Tukhugov in his main-card bout against Hakeem Dawodu.

The UFC lightweight champion, who returns to the octagon at UFC 254 on October 24 on Yas Island, watched on as Tukhugov lost via a split decision at Flash Forum.

The Russian seemed to take the opening two rounds, although his opponent ramped up the pressure in the closing stages and did enough to convince the judges. UFC 253 opened "Return to Fight Island", the promotion’s second UFC residency in the capital.

Nurmagomedov brings down the curtain on the five-event run next month, when he takes on interim title-holder Justin Gaethje in the headline bout.

The Dagestan native, unbeaten in all 28 professional mixed martial arts fights, has not fought since September last year, when he defeated Dustin Poirier at UFC 242. That bout also took place in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 27: (L-R) Hakeem Dawodu of Canada reacts after defeating Zubaira Tukhugov of Russia in their featherweight bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Hakeem Dawodu of Canada reacts after defeating Zubaira Tukhugov of Russia in their featherweight bout. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Updated: September 27, 2020 08:14 AM

THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email